Swarm came and then left my trap ??
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Campbellsville, KY
    Posts
    19

    Default Swarm came and then left my trap ??

    A couple of questions for the veteran swarm trappers on here: First a little info. I have a swarm trap that I can watch closely everyday. This trap has 9 empty foundationless frames baited with LGO and a saucer size piece of dark brood comb. It was made this year with new frames and is about 2500 cu. in. (about 41L) in size. After 12 days of serious scouting activity, I had a monster swarm come to it a couple of weeks ago. I never saw such a pile of bees in my life. A five gallon bucket would come nowhere close to holding them. Well, I believe that the box was too small and they just literally would not fit. They arrived at about 11:30 am and by dark there was still at least half of them bearded on the outside of the box. The entrance was cram packed the whole time. I went to work the next morning and could tell no difference from the night before. I came home at lunch and a few more had gone in but not a whole lot, and there was still one particularly large pile of bees on one corner that had been there the whole time. I wondered if the queen was in that bunch. I left it alone and came back after I got off work and saw bees waggle dancing on the outside. In the next few minutes they all swarmed out again and landed on a fence post. While I was thinking about how I might catch them again they left again and I was not able to follow where they went. They left behind at least 200 straggler bees and two dinner plate sized combs in the box. The stragglers are still there but most have either died or gone and they are still nasanov fanning every day. Questions: Do you think I'm right about the box size or was the issue something else such as the queen never made it inside the box? Will these stragglers keep away any new scout bees looking for a new home?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    10,128

    Default Re: Swarm came and then left my trap ??

    Quote Originally Posted by SBky View Post
    Questions: Do you think I'm right about the box size or was the issue something else such as the queen never made it inside the box? Will these stragglers keep away any new scout bees looking for a new home?
    you are most likely right about the box size. other factors include most of the trap being brand new equipment and the swarm may have just been wanting to put more distance between itself and the hive it issued from.

    the queen likely never got 'ushered' in as you suspect.

    the stragglers might try to defend the trap but they won't stop a swarm bent on moving in if it really wants to.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Fremont, California
    Posts
    123

    Default Re: Swarm came and then left my trap ??

    The first thing I would say is that you need more drawn comb in the box, but you have that now. Box size seems to be right. Can't explain why they left. Sometimes they just do that. As with all swarm traps, I let them ride to see what happens next.

    Phil

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Butler Co, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    440

    Default Re: Swarm came and then left my trap ??

    I'd say the box was too small for that big of a swarm. In hindsight, might coulda put them into a double deep and kept them, but who really knows. Maybe some scouts found a bigger candidate.

    The 41 liter size is pretty well based on normal size swarms. It may be the best all around, but you can miss those giant ones.
    Hindsight is 20/10, not 20/20...
    After the fact, I always know what didn't work.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Campbellsville, KY
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Swarm came and then left my trap ??

    Thanks guys. I'm going to leave it as is until the end of July so maybe an after-swarm or another colony will find it too. One thing I know for sure, next year a bigger box will be at this location! Man if its true that half or more of a colony leaves with the queen when they swarm I would love to see the colony it came from. I guess its possible that it was a whole colony whose tree got logged or something but man it was big, and I was sick watching it fly over the hill out of sight...

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    6,759

    Default Re: Swarm came and then left my trap ??

    One of my most famous quotes is:

    "A small swarm will fit into a large bait hive but a large swarm will not fit into a small bait hive"



    All of my opinions and suggestions are based on my five decades of actual beekeeping,
    not so much on book learning, watching YouTube videos nor reading internet sites.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Campbellsville, KY
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Swarm came and then left my trap ??

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    One of my most famous quotes is:

    "A small swarm will fit into a large bait hive but a large swarm will not fit into a small bait hive"



    Very true.

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